Chronic illness and Epstein Barr saved my life. I know that this may sound crazy, but the truth is that having a chronic virus, always hovering at the edge of my immune system, stopped me. It stopped me from using my will to push the river faster than it naturally wants to go. It prevented me from succumbing to perpetual burnout, a self-inflicted disease that so often plagues the creative entrepreneur.
I first got sick with Mono when I was 17. In the midst of working, going to school, and supporting myself, I could not take time off to get well. I struggled with the virus for two years, before it finally subsided and allowed me to live without chronic fatigue and swollen glands. But when I was in my late 20’s, the virus came back to rear its ugly head and insisted that I evaluate my hard work drive.
As a visionary and creative entrepreneur, I can see the path before me and the road it will take to achieve my goals. I always want to go for it, full-on and full-out! However, I make myself go without thoughtful pacing in any way, shape, or form, which is often detrimental to my well being. You see, I am like a horse who sees the barn and heads straight for home. I will run the whole way but can be beyond exhausted by the time I get there. This nuisance of a virus stops me dead in my tracks and demands that I use that little word, “NO.”
Epstein Barr is a virus that causes chronic fatigue syndrome, and for me, was the result of my long term mononucleosis. The virus hides just beneath the surface of my immune system. If I ride myself too far without proper rest and care, I will get sick.
I first realized that this was an issue at around 29 years old, when I became so ill that I could not get out of bed. I had been working around the clock, and I couldn’t shake the exhaustion. No matter how much rest I managed, I could barely move. My head felt like it was in a helmet! I was in a perpetual fog, and over the following three months, I went to 17 different doctors to try to figure out what was wrong with me. After many blood tests and x rays with no answers, the doctors suggested that I see a therapist.
After several visits, she told me that she believed that I was physically ill and that I needed to keep looking for an answer. Now, by this time, I was getting scared. I felt so bad, I thought I was going to die and no one would know what strange disease killed me (always a flair for the dramatic). One day, a friend of mine suggested that I see an alternative medicine doctor that she had heard about. By this time, I would try anything! So, I figured why not?
When I went to see him, he asked me 20 questions, all of which I answered yes. He then did some blood work and kinesiology. Finally, he was able to diagnose me with Epstein Barr. He put me on a regimen of rest, high dose vitamin C, along with a plant-based, high protein, nutrient-rich diet, with many more supplements.
I felt relieved that there was a name for this disease, and I was finally figuring out what was going on with my health. I went to see the doctor every week, and by the time one month had passed, I could get out of bed for at least some of the day. By month three, I was out of the house and running again. I was coming back to life, and it was an all-new life!
It took about two years to fully recover, and during that time, I went to workshops on healing and wellness, I went on vision quests, and I studied Brain mind reeducation (a fascinating sound therapy). Soon thereafter, I was fully immersed in alternative healing through herbs, homeopathy, stress reduction, sound therapy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, meditation, Reiki, and yoga. I did everything it took to heal my body and connect to my soul.
ALL of this has served me well in my quest to follow my dreams and create the Beautiful Life that I want to live. I have to pay attention to my wellness, and I have to stay aware of my physical limitations. And in paying attention, I’ve been able to avoid Burn Out! It is a SERIOUSLY avoidable and self-inflicted disease for a visionary and entrepreneur. Going too hard can undo all of the work and destroy the joy that could be. It’s a tricky little thing–it is like walking on an edge with a long fall if you misstep. If you take it slow and breathe, you will make it to the other side in one piece. But if not, the ground can come up to meet you a lot faster than you think. It can lay you out flat.
At the time, I could have never told you that I would look at Epstein Barr with gratitude. But somehow the universe knew that I needed to have a constant reminder to slow it down enough to breathe and feel the joy of living full-on and full-out. I needed to learn how to enjoy the journey of following my dreams as much as the destination.
I hope this serves as a reminder that you don’t have to drive yourself so hard to achieve your dreams. Remember to breathe, and that slow and steady wins the race. It is not necessary to develop a disease to care for yourself. You can take it from me that you will get there if you keep it to a trot, instead of a full-on gallop. And I promise you will get there with a whole lot more of yourself intact. And isn’t that what it is all about?
In the coming months, I will be going in-depth to share the therapies that I used then and still use to this day to get well and stay well! Until then… Stay well, my friends.